This Christmas learn to be still

By Judy Brandon

In the past I have always seemed to feel a pressure around the Christmas season to meet the Dec. 25 deadline. In the past, store advertisements and great sales have tempted me to act on that special price in order to purchase just the right gift for those certain people. Get-togethers, school parties, Christmas parades, designated shopping nights, church programs, have added to the pressure to scurry around and rush to meet the deadlines. Planning meetings, committee meetings, decorating duties and extra practices take what little time there is to spare. Sometimes I would just get so caught up in the Christmas activity that I was worn out.
Long lines at the checkout counter have in the past caused me internal tension. Cars stacked several deep in turning lanes of city streets frustrated me because my planned route home did not go smoothly. In the midst of all the hustle, we can still get the car’s oil changed in ten minutes in preparation for taking that Christmas trip. In an hour, we can make it to a store, purchase our gift, get it wrapped and mail the package. But in all this activity we must hurry.
This Christmas is different for me. I really realize what it is like to have those things that count long after Christmas is gone. I have focused my mind and spirit on the concept of being still.
The Bible is time-honored and its wisdom is appropriate for us today. God said to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Being still has great benefits.
I am so grateful that the shepherds on the hillside were still long enough to hear the message from the angels and then act upon it. Consequently, they found the baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph and then left to spread the good news of his birth.
I am so glad that the wise men were still long enough to recognize Herod’s evil motives, thereby changing their route back home and avoiding Herod altogether.
I am so thankful that Joseph stayed still long enough to discern that the dream he had was indeed a message from God to escape to Egypt with his little family where Jesus would be protected from the evil intentions of Herod’s planned massacre.
I am so thankful that years ago I remained still long enough to hear the voice of God and realize that I wanted to give my heart to Jesus.
It is only in being still that we acknowledge the one who is the basis of our whole existence — God. He created us and he loves us. He knows more about us than we could ever know about ourselves. We have immediate access to him.
In filling our lives with duties of the Christmas season, we may find that most of the time we are missing the one activity that would be the most helpful for our total well being. For in all of my involvement during the day, I seldom am just still. However, it is in being still and hearing God that I find real peace and purpose for this holiday season.

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at:
cbrandon@plateautel.net